Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Emmy winners in animation and children's programming

Before I move on to Emmy winners that are about modern American politics (in contrast to politics in science fiction), I am taking care of the winners in animation and children's programming, which I touched on in Star Wars at the Primetime Emmy Awards, 'Gotham' leads superhero shows at the Primetime Emmy Awards with three nominations, and 'Veep' leads nominated comedies at the Primetime Emmy Awards with 17 nominations.  Here they are from Wikipedia.

"Samurai Jack" earned four Emmy Awards for Outstanding Individual Achievement in Animation, one each for Bryan Andrews (storyboard artist), Scott Wills (production design), Craig Kellman (character design), and Lou Romano (background design).  "Wander Over Yonder" also won an Outstanding Individual Achievement in Animation for Justin Nichols (character animation).  All of these are juried awards, so I had no comment on them in advance.  Just the same, congratulations!

"Bob's Burgers" won Outstanding Animated Program.  This came as a pleasant surprise.  I was expecting "Archer" to repeat.

I was also expecting "Adventure Time" to repeat as Outstanding Short-Format Animation.  It did, so I can brag that I picked the winner.

One category I missed was Outstanding Character Voice-Over Performance, which I might have included in the post about "Black Mirror" and "American Horror Story: Roanoke" I was planning on writing before I was hospitalized.  Seth MacFarlane won that award for his work on "Family Guy" as the voices of Peter Griffin, Stewie Griffin, Brian Griffin, and Glenn Quagmire.  The man is just as talented as a voice artist as he is a humorist.  Here's to hoping he can put those talents to good use in "The Orville."

I was rooting for "Star Wars Rebels" to win Outstanding Children's Program, but I expected "Once Upon a Sesame Street Christmas" to take home the statuette.  As predicted, the Muppets beat the rebels.  Maybe "Star Wars Rebels" will win for its last season, which is this year.

And now, two videos from the winner with the strongest claim to being science fiction, "Wonder Over Yonder" and "Adventure Time."  First, If You Wonder Over Yonder.

Next, Adventure Time Islands Theme Song.

Yesterday was Talk like a Pirate Day, but there is still a Jolly Roger flag for today.

Enough fantasy.  Time to move on to reality in the form of politics and news!

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Talk like a Pirate (of the Caribbean) Day to musical accompaniment

I mentioned Talk Like A Pirate Day yesterday.  That's today!  Arr, Mateys!

To celebrate, I'm posting a clip and some music from "Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales."  Here's the clip, which stitches together three previews.

Between 2:15 and 2:40, I heard bits of a familiar theme.  It's more easily heard from 0:48 and 1:08 of Kill the Filthy Pirate, I'll Wait.

As I wrote in the comments, "(Un)holy crap! It's the March to the Scaffold from Symphonie Fantastique by Hector Berlioz! Well, at least Jack Sparrow couldn't ask for more epic music to be executed to."*  Of course, Captain Sparrow escapes, along with Will and Elizabeth Turner's son Henry and Hector Barbossa's daughter Carina Smyth, or else there wouldn't be a movie.

*I recognized it because I played it in the Anaheim Kingsmen in 1978; it was the opening of the field show.  If I had a drum corps rendition of the piece, I'd play it.  I don't, but I have something better: Gustavo Dudamel conducting an orchestra playing it.  Listen for the motif in the opening.

Oh, my, from pirates to classical music in three clips.  I'd better stop before I go even farther afield!

Monday, September 18, 2017

'The Handmaid's Tale' sweeps last night of Emmys to win five awards

I finished 'Westworld' and 'Stranger Things' lead drama series with five Creative Arts Emmy Awards each with a wish for the speculative fiction nominees.
Good luck to "Stranger Things," "Westworld," and "The Handmaid's Tale" tonight, as they are all in competition with each other for Outstanding Drama Series, Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series, Outstanding Directing for a Drama Series, and Outstanding Writing for a Drama Series.  In addition, "Stranger Things" and "Westworld" both have performers nominated for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series, "Westworld" and "The Handmaid's Tale" have nominees for Outstanding Actress in a Drama Series, and "Westworld" has Anthony Hopkins nominated for Outstanding Actor in a Drama Series.  Three to five awards down, five to seven to go!
Let's see how that went as USA Today asks Missed the 2017 Emmy Awards? Here are the highlights.

Just in case you missed the 2017 Emmy Awards, or if you want to watch it again: here are the highlights.
Turns out it went very well for "The Handmaid's Tale," as it won all five of the categories in which it was competing last night.  In addition to Outstanding Drama Series and Outstanding Actress in a Drama Series, the show won Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series, Outstanding Directing for a Drama Series, and Outstanding Writing for a Drama Series.  That tied it with "Big Little Lies" for number of awards last night as well as trophies overall with eight, as the adaptation of Margaret Atwood's dystopian novel had already won Outstanding Guest Actress in a Drama Series for Alexis Bledel as Ofglen/Emily, Outstanding Cinematography for a Single-Camera Series (One Hour), and Outstanding Production Design for a Narrative Contemporary or Fantasy Program (One Hour or More).*

I didn't see this coming, although I should have, as I was rooting for "Westworld" and "Stranger Things" in all five categories.  Then again, as I wrote last month and repeated just yesterday, "'I expect 'The Handmaid's Tale' of a theocratic dystopian America will win more honors at the Emmys than I expected just a week ago,' after winning two awards at the 2017 Television Critics Association Awards, this is the kind of result I should have expected."  Congratulations!  I expect to see a lot of nominations for this series at next year's Saturn Awards.

As for "Westworld" and "Stranger Things," both were shut out last night.  Sterling K. Brown beat Anthony Hopkins for Outstanding Actor in a Drama Series and John Lithgow won for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series.  I found the former surprising (Brown beat Hannibal Lector!  I thought Kevin Spacey would do that) but I expected the latter.  Just the same congratulations to both, especially Brown.  In all seriousness, diversity!

"The Handmaid's Tale" was not the only speculative fiction program to sweep its categories last night.  "Black Mirror: San Junipero" won both of the categories it was nominated in last night, Outstanding Television Movie and Outstanding Writing For A Limited Series, Movie Or Dramatic Special.**  Adding its two wins with those of "The Handmaid's Tale" (8) "Westworld" (5), "Stranger Things" (5), "Gotham" (1), "Marvel's Luke Cage" (1), and "American Horror Story: Roanoke" (1), speculative fiction shows earned 23 Emmy Awards this season.  That's a good year for the genre in terms of mainstream recognition and I'm happy about it.

*Neither were the overall winner over all nights of the Emmys.  That honor belongs to "Saturday Night Live" with nine total, five last week and four last night.  I'll have more to say about SNL, "Veep," and "Last Week Tonight" in future installments, but only after Talk Like A Pirate Day.

**I was planning on writing a post about both "Black Mirror" and "American Horror Story: Roanoke," but I was hospitalized and missed a day of blogging then didn't have quite the energy to research and write that post.  If I had done that, I could had also said something about the other miniseries and movie nominees beyond what I wrote about "Genius" and my asides about "Big Little Lies."  Darn.

Sunday, September 17, 2017

'Westworld' and 'Stranger Things' lead drama series with five Creative Arts Emmy Awards each

I wrote "I'll be back with more winners in speculative fiction and politics" at the end of '13th' leads non-fiction programs with four Emmy Awards.  With the Primetime Emmy Awards tonight, I only have time for one, so for this week's Sunday Entertainment feature, I'm sharing the speculative fiction winners from last weekend's Creative Arts Emmy Awards, just like I did two years ago in 'Game of Thrones' already a big winner at the Emmy Awards and last year in Ten Emmy Awards for 'Game of Thrones' plus other speculative fiction winners.  Then I'll probably post the speculative fiction winners from tonight's show tomorrow, just as I did in 'Game of Thrones' wins Best Drama and three other awards two years ago and 'Game of Thrones' and 'Orphan Black' win Emmy Awards.  Sorry, political comedies, dramas, and variety shows, but I'm nothing if not predictable.  I'll get to you like I did last year in Last Week Tonight examines Clinton and Trump foundations after winning three Emmy Awards.  Be patient.

Follow over the jump as I report on the five Emmy Awards both "Westworld" and "Stranger Things" have already won as well as the three statuettes "The Handmaid's Tale" earned, all of which put them in the lead for drama series, along with all the rest of the live-action speculative fiction winners, including the first Emmy Awards for "Gotham" and "Marvel's Luke Cage."

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Goodbye, Cassini!

I mentioned that I might get to the Cassini spacecraft burning up in Saturn's atmosphere at the end of Seeker/DNews on bees recovering from colony collapse disorder.  Today is as good a day as any to say goodbye.  First, a serious farewell from NASA as the space agency says Goodbye Cassini.

NASA’s Cassini Spacecraft Ends Its Historic Exploration of Saturn.

A thrilling epoch in the exploration of our solar system came to a close today, as NASA's Cassini spacecraft made a fateful plunge into the atmosphere of Saturn, ending its 13-year tour of the ringed planet.

Cassini's plunge brings to a close a series of 22 weekly "Grand Finale" dives between Saturn and its rings, a feat never before attempted by any spacecraft.
Now, a silly goodbye as Robert Picardo of "Star Trek: Voyager" and the Planetary Society sings Le Cassini Opera.

Planetary Society board member Robert Picardo (Star Trek: Voyager) sings a very special goodbye to the Cassini mission at Saturn.
Addio per sempre, Cassini!

Friday, September 15, 2017

Seeker/DNews on bees recovering from colony collapse disorder

I concluded Seeker/DNews on the true cost of fossil fuels with a program note.
I have another video about bees I plan on sharing.  Stay tuned.
Here it is, After a Decade of Colony Collapse, Bees Are Bouncing Back! (Sort Of).

A new report shows bee populations are on the rise, but the hives are still facing major threats.
Honeybees Ravaged by 'Colony Collapse Disorder' Are Making a Huge Comeback
"The number of U.S. honeybees, a critical component to agricultural production, rose in 2017 from a year earlier, and deaths of the insects attributed to a mysterious malady that's affected hives in North America and Europe declined, according a U.S. Department of Agriculture honeybee health survey released Tuesday."
There are other events going on today, such as North Korea launching another missile over Japan, the Cassini spacecraft burning up in Saturn's atmosphere, and the celebration of Greenpeace Day, but I decided to celebrate some good news today instead.  As for the rest of the stories, I might get to them later, maybe even tomorrow.  Stay tuned.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Seeker/DNews on the true cost of fossil fuels

Just yesterday, I lectured on externalities in my environmental science class.  Fortunately for me, Seeker/DNews posted a video on the topic of externalities just the week before, which I included in my lecture.  Here's Here's How Much Gas Really Costs (If You Account for Global Warming).

The true cost of fossil fuels is hidden in subsidies, but a new study has estimated just how much they really are. And let's just say, fossil fuels are expensive.
That made the point I wanted to get across to my students.

I have another video about bees I plan on sharing.  Stay tuned.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

'13th' leads non-fiction programs with four Emmy Awards

Yesterday, I wrote "I'll have more about the other winners of non-fiction programs later this week."  I decided today would be that day, especially as it would mean I'd write about "13th" on the 13th.  I couldn't let that apt coincidence pass.

"13th" won more awards than any other nonfiction program with statues given out for four categories.  Variety lists them and quotes Ava DuVernay's acceptance speech.
“13th” won for documentary special as well as writing, motion design and original music and lyrics for “The Letter to the Free” by Common, Robert Glasper and Karriem Riggins. The Netflix documentary, which also collected a Peabody Award and an Oscar nomination this year, led the winners field with four trophies.
I was rooting for or predicted most of these wins.
Documentary or Nonfiction Special..."13th" is the clear favorite, given the reputation and quality of the director and the urgency of the movie's topic, but any of these shows could win.
Writing for a Nonfiction Program...Without "Planet Earth II" in the mix, I think "13th" is the favorite, even though I'm rooting for "Bill Nye Saves the World," even though I don't think it deserves it.
That's two.  Now for the third from 'Saturday Night Live' tied for most Emmy nominations with 22, 24 counting its web series and interactive program, here's what I had to say about the odds of Common's song winning.
In its final nominated category, "13th" would be the winner of a game of "One of these things is not like the other" in this field.  All the rest are for comedies.  At least as the most serious, it would stand out.  That written, I'd actually have to listen to all of them to give an informed opinion.
I will say that Common wrote "Glory," the Academy Award winning song for "Selma."  That's a point in its favor. In addition, if the Emmy electorate wants to send a message, that might be even more effective, if less popular, than picking a Christmas song from SNL.
I count that as a half.  As for Outstanding Motion Motion Design, the nominees weren't listed and a jury picked the awards, so I didn't have a chance to say anything about its chances.  Still, calling two-and-one-half out of three is pretty good.

Now for a quote from the acceptance speech.
DuVernay was one of several winners who made emotional pleas for those in media to use their power to speak out on urgent issues, from criminal justice and prison reform to climate change.

“When all kinds of people are feeling aggressively demoralized and devalued, people of justice and dignity need to stand up and make our voices heard,” DuVernay said. “Our voices are stronger than those that try to silence us.”
I second this emotion.

Follow over the jump for the other winners in non-fiction television.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

'Planet Earth II' wins two Emmy Awards

I listed all ten nominations for "Planet Earth II" in Nature and science at the Primetime Emmy Awards.
[C]omposers Jacob Shea and Jasha Klebe were nominated for Outstanding Music Composition For A Series (Original Dramatic Score) for the first episode, "Islands."  The other nine nominations include Documentary or Nonfiction Series, two nominations for Directing for a Nonfiction Program (Fredi Devas and Elizabeth White), two nominations for Cinematography for a Nonfiction Program (one each for the teams for "Islands" and "Cities," the final episode), two nominations for Picture Editing for a Nonfiction Program (Dave Pearce and Matt Meech), Outstanding Sound Editing For Non Fiction Programming, and Outstanding Sound Mixing For Nonfiction Programming.
It won two of them at last weekend's Creative Arts Emmy Awards, Outstanding Documentary or Nonfiction Series and Outstanding Cinematography for a Nonfiction Program for "Islands."  For the first award, it clearly stood out over a field of "30 for 30," "American Masters," "Chef's Table," and "The Keepers," so I consider that an easy win.  For the second, it was competing against a much tougher field including "13th," "O.J.: Made in America," “Anthony Bourdain Parts Unknown,” “Chef’s Table,” and itself as two episodes were nominated.  "Planet Earth II" managed to defeat an Oscar winner, an Oscar nominee, a former winner, and itself.  Congratulations!

As for the rest of the science and nature programs I lised in Nature and science at the Primetime Emmy Awards and More nature and science at the Primetime Emmy Awards, none of them won.  I would say I'm disappointed except that I didn't expect that most of them would win.  In fact, I said of some that they should just be happy to be nominated.  In particular, I will note that I called the win for Meryl Streep as the narrator of "Five Came Back," an episode of "The Price of Victory," over all the nature shows.  Never underestimate the power of Hollywood voting for a good film or show about itself.

I'll have more about the other winners of non-fiction programs later this week.  In the meantime, enjoy these two clips from "Islands," one that was shown on air, the other a behind the scenes clip I've already shown to my students, both examples of the techniques explained in Vox on 'Planet Earth II'.

A pygmy three-toed sloth swims between mangroves on the island of Escudo.
Pygmy sloths are home to an unusually varied number of creatures.
How cute!

By the way, I'm back home from the hospital.  I might have more to say about that experience later this month.

Monday, September 11, 2017

Dinosaurs dancing to 'Jurassic Park' theme and more science fiction music on a football field

I'm still in the hospital, so nothing very complex today.  That's O.K., as I stumbled across something both fun and on-topic for this blog, the University of Michigan Marching Band playing John Williams music from science fiction movies, "Star Wars," "Jurassic Park," and "E.T."

The dancing dinosaurs got the attention of MLive, which posted T-Rex Perform During Michigan Football Halftime.

An army of Tyrannosaurus Rex invade Michigan Stadium during the University of Michigan Marching Band halftime performance on Saturday, September 9, 2017.
That was hilarious.